Monday, November 21, 2011

Movies You Might Have Missed Monday -Temple Grandin

Sadly, for some, another season of the Twilight Saga has passed. Next year will be the last of the movies, and also the last of the Twiblog when I’ll highlight the inspirational messages and symbolism I picked up on in the fourth part of the story, Breaking Dawn. But that will have to wait.

For now, we’re back on schedule, which might be a relief to the Twi-haters out there. That means, Movies You Might Have Missed Monday is back!! And of course, I’m excited to tell you about today’s pick.

Temple Grandin is the name of the movie, but it’s also the name of the extraordinary, real-life person the movie’s about. Temple currently teaches at CO State University, holds a Masters and Ph.D. has written six books (and counting) and is an inventor as well. What’s so special about that? Well, she’s been able to accomplish all of this and more while having what they call high-functioning autism.

The movie highlights the struggles she experienced growing up with this condition. From not speaking until she turned four years old to the social conflicts encountered throughout childhood and on into adulthood, Temple Grandin’s story tells of heartbreaking challenges as well as remarkable courage.

It shows the tireless persistence of her mother to help her achieve her potential despite the hurdles autism presented. It shows the dismal prejudice and unkindness Temple met as she grew up in a time that neither understood nor empathized with ‘different’ people. It also shows those few individuals who looked past the social flubs and phobias to see an incredible mind as well as a tender heart.

Though it happens more often as I get older, I’m not generally a ‘crier’ when I watch movies. Stories deeply affect me, but the tears are rarely the outward expression. Therefore, I’m so glad I watched Temple Grandin alone because I cried almost through the entire movie. Before that deters you from watching, they weren’t all sad tears. Some of them were, but I was so impressed with the guts this woman showed I couldn’t help it. Not only was I impressed, but I was also a little ashamed of myself for what I complain about, what I think I can’t accomplish, for what I haven’t done.

Temple had, and still has, an amazing amount of value to contribute to the world. What a shining example of the success and importance of a person the world would have institutionalized! What a testament to the value of every life. She tirelessly works to fix the problems her picture-thinking mind shows her. She has great compassion for her co-autistic peers as well as their families. In the movie, she emphatically states that she wants to matter. How beautiful of her, especially since she encountered so many people who told her she didn’t (or at least treated her that way).

The film itself is well done. Claire Danes won a Golden Globe for her performance as Temple. Julia Ormond, David Strathairn and Catherine O’Hara also contribute their talents and lend their professional credibility. And like I said, it’s presented in a way that touches the core of even the thickest (emotionally) personality.

I had known about this movie for some time before I watched it. Believe me when I suggest that you not waste another second before watching it yourself. You won’t be sorry. I hope you’ll be inspired and challenged.

Happy Movie Watching, Dry Ground friends! And happy Thanksgiving Week!

(photo by